Since the day we were married, my wife and I have had an “open heart” policy – a mutual understanding that we are each allowed to speak honestly and openly into the heart and life of the other when we have a concern or an issue.
Sometimes it may be some sort of constructive criticism. Other times it could be to clear up misunderstandings, hurt feelings, or to address family conflict.
These conversations are not always enjoyable, but, like any couple, we have found that in order to maintain growth and continued improvement in our marriage, they are often necessary.
Recently my wife lovingly corrected me, and while I cringed to hear what she had to say, I couldn’t help but agree with her after she shared her heart, because she was completely right.
Her concern?… That it always seemed that I was “working” on my day off.
No, I wasn’t going in to the office, and I wasn’t even doing work-related stuff, but I was filling up my day off with my own tasks and to-do’s. Unfortunately to the point that to my family, I might as well have been at work.
She felt that it was my day off for me, but not my day off for my family… Ouch!
SO… WHAT WAS HAPPENING?
My wife graciously expressed her desire for my day off to be more about prioritizing time spent with her and the kids by doing things that mattered to them, more than prioritizing getting my to-do list done. And I have to admit, I was guilty as charged.
I’m a to-do list kind of guy every day of the week, and so without even fully realizing it, I had slipped into the bad habit of getting tunnel-visioned and doing the same thing on my day off – focusing on myself and the list of things I needed to get done.
Sadly, my day off wasn’t feeling like a day off for my family.
“Remember, your day off doesn’t just belong to you, it belongs to your family as well.”
I needed to be reminded of some things:
- Playing together in the yard is more important than making sure the yard gets mowed.
- Making “small adventure” memories as a family will be far more lasting than making sure all my small errands get run.
- Taking time to prioritize what my family wants to do before prioritizing what I need to get done is something I’ll not one day regret.
I often have to be reminded of this valuable principle… “Don’t sacrifice the important on the altar of the urgent.”
There will always be “urgent” things that seem to demand our attention – the grass will always need mowed, the errands will always need ran, and the to-do list will always be full. So we can’t let those things steal from us the most important things in life before they’re gone.
While all of those “urgent” things will still need to be done, it’s important that our family always knows that they come first. And if anything has to go undone, let’s make sure that it’s the urgent things, and not the most important things.
Make sure to put the big rocks in your life jar first, then fill it up with all the small ones. Your family deserves to be one of your most important priorities.
SO… MY WIFE CORRECTED ME… AND SHE WAS RIGHT, I WAS WRONG (yes, I just said those three dreaded words).
I’m sure thankful for a godly spouse who cares for me enough to lovingly tell me how it is when I need to hear it, and to help me see my blind spots. Our family will be the better for it.
Do you have an “open heart” policy in your marriage? If not, why not establish one, for the sake of your marriage and your family?
Remember, the next time your spouse comes to you with a concern, be open-minded, be teachable.
Because let’s face it, if you were willing to commit your entire life to this person who cares about you more than any other human alive, don’t you think that what they have to speak into your life is probably worth hearing?
Believe it or not, whatever it is they have to say… they might just be right.
If you agree, please share! I’d also love to hear your thoughts.